Sunday, April 05, 2015

Omer 5775. Day 1

So here we go... counting from Pesach to Shavuot.

We depart, abandoning Egypt, leaving civilization behind, forging our way into the wilderness, towards the unknown with God at our helm.

We embark with the taste of Matza in our mouths. But for our thought for the inaugural day of the Omer let us consider Matza from the perspective of the 49 days of the Omer. Rav Yoel-bin-Nun writes:

Leaven, hametz … represent the final goal to which the farmer aspires, from the start of his work. … Bread which is hametz … express[es] the end of the successful process, the longed-for end-result… the realization of that which he had visualized at the start, and which he pursued until he achieved it.

Matza, in contrast, represents a station in mid-process, before the end-result is achieved. It represents a deficiency that is waiting for completion.

In fact, Matza represents the beginning of the flat dough, before it has risen to be what it was designed to be - Hametz, leaven; fluffy bread! Matza is a process at its inception. We start walking with Matza. From the day of our Exodus, we begin to count.

Pesach is a celebration of freedom. But we may not imagine that merely because we are free we have realised our national destiny. We eat matza to understand that our independence is merely the start of a long journey. we still need to receive our Torah, to populate and build our land, to build our nation and much more. Matza is a celebration but also a warning:

... Redemption is a prolonged, difficult process requiring patience and a great capacity for discomfort… The essence of the festival of matzot then, is a severe warning against the illusion of a complete redemption that happens in a single moment.

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